All about service-learning for high school students

    Posted: June 19, 2020

    Learning is an individual experience, and sometimes as students, it can feel like the system in which we’re expected to learn simply doesn’t work for us. Service-learning trips for high school students offer an exciting alternative to traditional education, that comes with its own built-in benefits. 

    Of all the alternatives to classroom education, programs for high school students that promise meaningful personal and professional growth are the best. 

    Take a look at why service-learning trips are an excellent option for any high school student, and why they might be a good opportunity for you. 

    What is service-learning?

    Have you ever felt like you don’t really understand the point of a certain subject at school? Maybe you can’t make sense of why you need to memorise work from a textbook when it doesn’t all seem to apply to real-life? 

    Well, service-learning is a different type of education that will push you beyond the walls of a classroom, and can put a lot of your schoolwork into perspective.

    You’ll travel and take part in activities with a group of your schoolmates, and get to see how all your academic work is put to use in the field. 

    Getting involved in a service-learning trip means you’re more likely to understand concepts better, since every theoretical learning experience is paired with a real-world experience. 



    Find out more about international service learning in this article: What is international service-learning?

    What types of service-learning opportunities are there?

    It’s important to pick a service-learning program that matches your current interests and goals for the future. The more invested you are in the topic, the more you will get out of the experience. 

    Our service-learning programs cover a range of fields – including marine conservation, wildlife conservation, and community development. This makes it easy to find something that suits your aspirations and interests. 

    These programs are designed to include hands-on experience, meaningful theory, and opportunities for reflection. In this way, they promise the types of development that can benefit any high school student with their thoughts on the future. 


    What does a service-learning program entail?

    A service-learning program starts before you even leave home. Two weeks before you leave, you will complete assignments and activities that get you geared up to go.

    Once in the country, your service-learning experience will consist of working in the field during the week, with free time over the weekends. The activities that you get involved in will depend on your destination and focus, as well as the needs of the local community.

    For the next few days, you will be working as a team, reviewing and adjusting your progress, and evaluating your impact. 

    Every day will include opportunities to be immersed in the culture of the country you’re in, since you’ll work closely with the local community. In this way, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the world and your place in it.



    Then, look forward to daily reflection periods, where you and your team will discuss the achievements of the day, and what needs to be done next. This gives you an opportunity to see how projects are continuously assessed and adapted to ensure that they stay relevant and effective.

    Once you’re home you’ll continue to engage in active reflection and educational expansion for two weeks. This will consolidate what you’ve learnt, and make it clear how these concepts apply to your real-world experiences back home. 

    And what about fun? Well, each service-learning experience has tons to offer in that department too. 

    What types of adventure activities do service-learning trips offer?

    From chopping up bok choy in a local cooking class, to canoeing along a rainforest river, there’s no limit to the types of adventurous activities that you could get involved in on a service-learning trip.

    Some of these adventure activities are part of the service-learning experience – like exploring the forested terrain of Thailand while contributing towards conservation efforts – while others are available for you to take part in during your free time. 



    And, since you’ll be travelling with a group of your friends, every moment of your trip offers a chance to have fun and make memories. 

    How can a service-learning trip benefit me in the future?

    The idea behind our service-learning programs is to inspire a lifetime of learning, exploring, and getting involved in global issues in a positive way.

    This type of experience can make your goals for the future clearer, motivate you to study further, and help you to gain skills that will come in handy in college, your career, and your everyday life. 

    Service-learning is the start of your engagement with global communities and goes far beyond an ordinary travel opportunity. 

    Service-learning abroad will teach you how to work alongside local communities in a positive and respectful way. The opportunity to get to know and learn from people from communities around the world means that you’ll get the chance to become a global citizen.



    Now that you know what service-learning trips have to offer, and how you can get involved, you can start planning for a brighter future. 

    Take a look at GVI’s award-winning international service-learning programs, and start planning for an educational experience that will benefit you for years to come.